Sensor Standards Keeping Protectors Secure

Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 05:02 PM gHale

By testing radiation detection equipment and helping establish national and international standards, there is now a group of people protecting the people who keep the nation safe.

The Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting program fulfills a Congressional mandate to set capability standards and establish a test and evaluation program for radiation and nuclear detectors, said officials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“The basic idea is to ensure that we identify the functional limitations of radiological and nuclear detection equipment,” said Pete Chiaro, who leads numerous international and American National Standards Institute standards committees.

“A key goal is to make sure our soldiers and front line officers have what they need to keep them and us safe,” he said.

Congress mandated the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) set Technical Capability Standards (TCSs) and implement a test and evaluation program for preventive radiological/nuclear (Rad/Nuc) detection equipment in the United States.

The Graduated Rad/Nuc Detector Evaluation and Reporting (GRaDER) Program evaluates commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Rad/Nuc detection equipment against national consensus standards adopted by the Department of Homeland Security and TCSs.

The mission of the program is to:

• Identify radiation detection products that comply with standards and satisfy Homeland Security mission requirements

• Enable federal, state, local, tribal and territorial agencies to make more informed radiological/nuclear detector procurement decisions

The objectives are to:

• Provide infrastructure for the collection of high integrity test data by using National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) lab accreditation process to confirm test lab capability and competence and to identify instrument categories, applicable standards, reporting protocols and compliance levels.

• Become a self-sustaining testing program where manufacturers pay for voluntary testing by NVLAP accredited labs on their own schedule and labs submit for and maintain accreditation.

• Standardize instrument testing procedures and presentation of test results to assure valid and easily interpreted comparisons.

• Develop government post-market surveillance program to track products already evaluated under the GRaDER program.

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